Green IT is the phrase of the day and reducing the "footprint" is the social goal for many organizations. Being able to accurately measure actual power consumption is an important part of the analysis of an organization's power usage. Power supply readings are a start, but generally not accurate for actual usage as their listed figures are static and don't take into consideration differing workloads between identical servers.
Dell's new M1000e chassis ships with Chassis Management Controller software that provides a real-time look at how much power is being consumed by the chassis and the individual blades within the chassis. Although the software doesn't provide a look at the power usage for each individual module in the back of the chassis, the software does tell you how much total power is being used by the chassis' infrastructure components which include everything in the chassis except the individual blade servers.
You can also monitor power consumption at the individual server level where you can get cumulative power information; that is, a look at how much total power an individual blade server has consumed since being put into service. At the individual server level, you're also provided with peak watt and amp information, which can be useful when planning changing to your electrical systems.
This granular look into chassis and blade power makes it very easy for you to track how much energy is being used by the servers in your data center.
Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive with CampusWorks, Inc. Scott is available for consulting, writing, and speaking engagements and can be reached at email@example.com.